China, whose capital Beijing is hosting the ongoing Olympic Games, is rich in historic and natural attractions,some of which have been recognized as world heritage.
Here are some facts and figures about world heritage in the country:
HISTORY: China joined UNESCO's "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" in 1985. A year later, it started to identify and nominate sites that qualified for the World Heritage List. On Oct. 29, 1999, the country became a member state of the World Heritage Committee.
LISTED WORLD HERITAGE SITES: 37
CULTURAL HERITAGE SITES: In total, the country has 26. These include the Great Wall, the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) and terracotta warriors and horses, the Confucian Temple and the Cemetery and Family Mansion in Qufu, among others.
NATURAL HERITAGE SITES: Seven. The most well-known are the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries – Wolong, Mt. Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains, Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area and Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan, among others.
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE SITES: Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, Mount Huangshan, Mount Taishan and Mount Wuyi.
POTENTIAL WORLD HERITAGE SITES: There are 89, including the West Lake scenic zone in Hangzhou and the Chinese Section of the Silk Road, among others.
INTANGIBLE WORLD HERITAGE: China is rich in intangible cultural heritage. Since 2001, Kun Qu (one of the oldest forms of opera in the country), the Chinese Zither or Guqin (a solo musical instrument dating back 3,000 years), Xinjiang Uygur Muqam (a blend of song, dance, folk and classical music), and Long Song (a type of Mongolian Lyrical chant) have been proclaimed by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2008)